1. Location and geomorphology

The island of Arkoi or Arkioi is located at the southeast of Patmos; it is surrounded by the following skerries constituting the Arkoi group: Marathi, Smineronisi, Tsouka, Tsoukaki, Avaptisto, Makronisi, Psathonisi, Kalovolo and Nisaki. Because of the dominating limestone and the arid scenery, no organized settlement is established. There are some clusters of tamarix, oleasters (wild olive trees), locust trees, fig trees and pine trees, while regarding the fauna there is wild hare and partridge. Quite impressive is the little harbored port of Avgousta, a safe “refuge” for private boats.

2. Historical retrospection – monuments and places of interest

Neolithic pottery has been found in the Tiganakia area, at the southern part of the island. The first to inhabit the island were the Carians, followed by the Dorians and, finally, the Miletians from Ionia making Arkoi the way station between Samos and Kos. That is when the forerunner of the castle was built, namely the first, small fort, remnants of which are extant even today, and which was probably constructed in two phases. The tower at the northwestern castle side dates from the 4th century. Julius Cesar, who once was held captive in Farmakonisi, destroyed the castle soon after he was liberated from the pirates . The fort, otherwise known as “Avgoustini’s Castle”, was also used during Early Byzantine Times after proper restorations. It is also possible that there was “eye contact” with the Castelli fort of Patmos.

In 1088, with emperor Alexios Komnenos’s chrysobull, Arkoi and other islands were granted to the monk Christodoulos, founder of the Patmos monastery, and were used as farmsteads and pastoral land for the monastery. Even now, a significant part of the island still belongs to the monastery.

At the top of the mountain at Pantanassa, where the settlement of the Achaeans was probably located, one can see the oldest church on the island, dedicated to Panagia Pantanousa. One hour’s hike away from there, at the back side of the island, there is a still unexplored cavern with stalactites and stalagmites.

3. Arkoi today

The very few residents occupy themselves mostly with fishing. Communicating with neighboring islands is feasible with local boats (kaikia) and small ships from Patmos during the summertime, while in the winter the island lives secluded.